Whether or not Jesse Jackson accused Barack Obama of acting “too white” or not, the only surprise about the recent flap is that it took so long to surface. Obama’s Presidential candidacy has idealistically tried to treat his race(s) as if they didn’t matter, a notion that is spiritually worthwhile, but perhaps even in today’s age one that may be too naïve to last. To the discredit of us all, we’re still obsessed with race, and I don’t have anything revelatory to say about it other than it makes me sad.
Obama’s statement on recent racial tension in Jena that, “Outrage over an injustice like the Jena 6 isn’t a matter of black and white. It’s a matter of right and wrong” also comes off as naïve. How can one really ignore race in a case where a violent dispute originated along lines of racial hatred and the ensuing prosecutorial actions additionally seem racially motivated?
Along the same lines, Jackson’s contention that Jena is today’s Selma seems like an absurd attempt to do what Jackson is best at, bring attention to himself. Jena is disappointing, it’s not Selma. Disturbing as it may be, the comparison is a lot like comparing Neo-Nazi rallies in Skokie to Auschwitz. How long must we remain slaves to our history?
Racial anger has taken on an odd complexity in today’s world. Minorities are encouraged to take pride in their heritage, while disenfranchised whites somehow seem to think that to similarly do so makes them seem like the a burgeoning Aryan brotherhood.
It’s not likely that we’ll ever consider our racial makeup to be as relevant as say hair or eye color. In lieu of that, one can only hope that we we’ll be able to identify what is best among our peoples and revel in our cultural diversity, while we continue to be amused at the race blinded success and lifestyles of Tiger Woods and Eminem.
If that doesn’t work, I guess we’re all stuck waiting for the solution espoused by Warren Beatty in Bulworth, “All we need is a voluntary, free-spirited, open-ended program of procreative racial deconstruction. Everybody just gotta keep fuckin’ everybody ’til they’re all the same color.”